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neo0r0chiaku
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"eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournaments?" , posted Mon 9 Nov 23:30post reply

We all know PC games like DOTA and LOL have gotten universal attention for the world tournaments/championships they have had recently. With an organized structure like that of an actual team sport with owners, coaches, sponsors, payroll, etc. But for fighting game tournaments, we have many with Evo being the biggest one. But does Evo live up to the standards of what these PC game tournaments have accomplished recently? Fighting game tournaments, let alone arcade games, have had these championships for decades before the PC games. We still have a good number of quality fighting games to compete with huge world championships like LOL and DOTA. So it cannot be the lack of fighting games in the market. However, does fighting game tournament organizers and fans of the genre consider themselves in the same category of eSports? Or do they distance themselves from the attention that these PC world championship games bring? Are we that underground scene that like to be away from the spotlight? What are your thoughts? Some history facts for clarification would be nice as well. If this was a topic in the café before, I apologize and you can just ignore this thread.





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Iggy
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"Re(1):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Tue 10 Nov 00:54post reply

Evo is by far the biggest fighting game tournament, and the most popular.
It's also ridiculously small. Even if everyone who watched it on Twitch showed up physically at the event, it would still be less than any of the important ones, LoL, Dota, or even Pokémon.

Fighting games are too niche and a genre that don't make sense for most XXIst century players.





Professor
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"Re(2):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Tue 10 Nov 01:42post reply

I think it depends on the country. In the case of Japan, I think fighting games have a chance of successfully going e-sports as long as there's enough money getting chucked into publicity. Unfortunately, that scenario is extremely unlikely considering its small market. But it's still better than the MOBA/RTS games for PCs, considering they've been dead on arrival in the country.





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"Re(2):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Tue 10 Nov 01:52:post reply

quote:
Evo is by far the biggest fighting game tournament, and the most popular.
It's also ridiculously small. Even if everyone who watched it on Twitch showed up physically at the event, it would still be less than any of the important ones, LoL, Dota, or even Pokémon.

Fighting games are too niche and a genre that don't make sense for most XXIst century players.



Fighting games just don't work well over the internet. The speed of light is not fast enough to give you a perfect gameplay experience across the globe when you are playing a game that requires realtime inputs registered at 60fps.

Mobas, FPS, RTS games don't suffer as severly from lag.

Aside from that fighting games work better on controllers, especially sticks, pretty specialized hardware if you think about it. Popular computer games will work on a low spec computer with a cheap mouse and keyboard.

Consoles were at the height of their popularity worldwide when computers were more expensive and consoles were the cheaper option, especially with bootlegged games. Nowadays most countries have really cracked down on console piracy, combined with the cheap cost of computers, and the insanely cheap prices of steam games (cheaper than bootleg discs ever were), and the rise of Free to Play games ... all these things have contributed to the decline of consoles.

For instance, I say this with a heavy heart, consoles are pretty much dead in Thailand where I am now. Most college kids I talk to are still very familiar with console games up to the ps2 era cos bless their hearts they remember playing them at a young age, or even still play them on the systems their older siblings left behind to them. But it's pretty much all PC and mobile from now on. Consoles are only for super hardcore gamers who also belong to a higher income bracket.

It used to be that even if you couldn't afford a console at home, you could go to the mall and pay to play them by the hour. Now kids go to PC cafes or inherit their parents old mobile devices.

I still don't really get the appeal of Mobas, but from now on they will always be way more popular than fighting games because its so much easier to get them in front of people than fighting games (i mean on a world wide scale).






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[this message was edited by nobinobita on Tue 10 Nov 01:58]

Professor
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"Re(3):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Tue 10 Nov 02:03:post reply

quote:
For instance, I say this with a heavy heart, consoles are pretty much dead in Thailand where I am now. Most college kids I talk to are still very

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


Going off-topic a bit, that's a very interesting topic regarding the widespread usage of PCs. Here, PCs are completely dead and I think most people rarely use them leave aside for office work. The ironic part, it's even true for some workers in the IT-related field because they don't want to be around computers when they're in their personal time.

Given that the PC seems to have a good widespread in other asian countries, I can't help but to wonder where the difference is.





[this message was edited by Professor on Tue 10 Nov 02:09]

nobinobita
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"Re(4):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Tue 10 Nov 02:17post reply

quote:
For instance, I say this with a heavy heart, consoles are pretty much dead in Thailand where I am now. Most college kids I talk to are still very

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --

Going off-topic a bit, that's very interesting to hear about Thailand. Here, PCs are completely dead and I think most people rarely use them leave aside for office work. The ironic part, it's even true for some workers in the IT-related field because they don't want to be around computers when they're in their personal time.



Going off topic some more, a while back I saw a really interesting presentation on which technologies reached true market saturation and could be found in the majority of households in America (like over 90% i think).

Things like telephones and radio actually took several decades to catch on. Even TVs. Personal computers never actually reached true market saturation across all income brackets. Consoles weren't even close. Cellphones caught on after a few years. But smartphones caught on incredibly quickly. Tablets too (I think within 3 years but don't quote me on that). That really surprised me. Tablets and smartphones are way more common than personal computers ever were.

Basically consoles have always been niche and will probably always remain niche and you know, that's OK!






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nobinobita
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"Re(4):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Tue 10 Nov 02:49post reply

quote:
For instance, I say this with a heavy heart, consoles are pretty much dead in Thailand where I am now. Most college kids I talk to are still very

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --

Going off-topic a bit, that's a very interesting topic regarding the widespread usage of PCs. Here, PCs are completely dead and I think most people rarely use them leave aside for office work. The ironic part, it's even true for some workers in the IT-related field because they don't want to be around computers when they're in their personal time.

Given that the PC seems to have a good widespread in other asian countries, I can't help but to wonder where the difference is.



As far as I know PC ownership has never been common in Asia (except for maybe Korea? I don't know very much about Korea). In South East Asia only people from higher income brackets own PCs. Same with China.

Mobile is the primary way most people in the world access the internet now, I believe.

I have a friend who worked with farmers in Rwanda and he said that almost every family there has a mobile phone, even if they don't have plumbing or electricity. They charge their phones in cars. They are pretty simple phones, but they have basic internet access. He also told me that everyone there freaks out when the internet goes out too, so you can't call that a first world problem anymore haha.






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"Re(5):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Tue 10 Nov 03:00post reply

quote:

Basically consoles have always been niche and will probably always remain niche and you know, that's OK!



The ok-ness of this is going to be proportional to the development cost and the expansion/contraction of the console market. Grand Theft Auto has an arbitrarily large budget, but its sales are measured in the tens of millions, which for premium packaged game software is in a category all on its own.

Neither PS3 nor PS4 are going to hit the highs that the PS2 did, and this is even with the PS3's abnormally long lifespan as the latest console from its brand. While it is true that going multiplatform is desirable for 3rd party titles, if the combined pool of customers isn't significantly larger, then it stands to reason that the historical trend of ever-bigger and ever-more-ambitious is going to have to be capped. Budgets aren't a new thing, but it'll be sad when the standard for a well-funded title is not a highly-ambitious genre-advancer/creator like FF6 or Mario64 or Metal Gear Solid or Warcraft 3 or Monster Hunter or Dark Souls but FPS-clone-X or slightly-shinier-mobile-game-Y.

quote:
I don't get the appeal of MOBAs


We've been over this so many times that I wonder if what you really mean is "I don't ACCEPT the appeal of MOBAs", haha

If you want a recipe for a gazillion dollars, the answer is to make a Three Kingdoms Musou game except having two teams of generals competing against each other. That solves your problem of "I don't like MOBA contrivances/game feel" while coupling it with an IP the all-important Chinese market loves to pieces together with gameplay more latency-friendly than hardcore fighting games while also involving teams of players and RPG mechanics.





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"Re(4):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Tue 10 Nov 03:04post reply

quote:
The ironic part, it's even true for some workers in the IT-related field because they don't want to be around computers when they're in their personal time.
Come to think of it...Prof, I know I've never seen you at a PC. Could this description include you~? I'd like to think that the Cafe is actually managed on a cell phone or via Satellaview.
quote:
Given that the PC seems to have a good widespread in other asian countries, I can't help but to wonder where the difference is.
Weird, isn't it? I find a non-laptop takes up too much space around the home, or maybe the difference came from the reverse direction: in the foundational 8-bit and 16-bit days, non-Japanese console games were terrible and unsuccessful, so people playing non-Japanese games gravitated to the PC and made that a real gaming market for them, whereas a PC simply isn't necessary in Japan if you like games.

To neo-orochiaku's great opening question, it's sad but true that while worldwide fighting game communities have great variety and identities, they're still relatively small ones compared to how accessible typical e-sports have been. That being the case, I'd actually love to hear people's thoughts and recollections on specific arcade scenes and tournaments they've been part of or are fond of. Prof and others will remember the US East Coast scene centered around grungy but wonderful Chinatown Fair, and there's the NorCal vs. SoCal legenary rivalries in California, the amazing stuff you see coming out of Mikado in Tokyo's Takadanobaba, etc.

One of the most wonderful and personal strategy books ever made is an American one I've mentioned before by Versus Books for SF Zero 2, written by 10 or so of the top players of the time and littered with anecdotes and descriptions of local tournaments and scenes, Evo, etc., in a way that my Gamest books are not. It's great to have a piece of the history of these leagues and scenes in book form.





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Iggy
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"Re(4):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Tue 10 Nov 03:16post reply

quote:
Going off-topic a bit, that's a very interesting topic regarding the widespread usage of PCs. Here, PCs are completely dead and I think most people rarely use them leave aside for office work. The ironic part, it's even true for some workers in the IT-related field because they don't want to be around computers when they're in their personal time.
Going extra off-topic, we had a good laugh at the office with this:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34667380

And then we curled up in a ball and cried.





Spoon
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"Re(1):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Tue 10 Nov 05:42post reply

quote:
We all know PC games like DOTA and LOL have gotten universal attention for the world tournaments/championships they have had recently. With an organized structure like that of an actual team sport with owners, coaches, sponsors, payroll, etc. But for fighting game tournaments, we have many with Evo being the biggest one. But does Evo live up to the standards of what these PC game tournaments have accomplished recently? Fighting game tournaments, let alone arcade games, have had these championships for decades before the PC games. We still have a good number of quality fighting games to compete with huge world championships like LOL and DOTA. So it cannot be the lack of fighting games in the market. However, does fighting game tournament organizers and fans of the genre consider themselves in the same category of eSports? Or do they distance themselves from the attention that these PC world championship games bring? Are we that underground scene that like to be away from the spotlight? What are your thoughts? Some history facts for clarification would be nice as well. If this was a topic in the café before, I apologize and you can just ignore this thread.



Certain economic aspects of fighting games just don't work well within the esports structure of other games, and the fact that the games are not team games is a big piece of that.

We see exclusivity in sponsorship with players of these individual sports, but even in the "real" sports world, that's a bit of an odd sell. Unlike team sports, there isn't a team brand that the player needs to be strongly affiliated with, even when the player's own brand is very strong. The clash of team brand versus player brand is a fairly major issue with DOTA2, where team stability has been such a problem that Valve has had to keep issuing new rules on team stability entering their capstone tournament, The International. No team currently has ingrained itself as a cultural establishment to the extent that real sports teams have, in no small part due to the internet nature of these teams. You have Chinese teams, Korean teams, American teams, etc. but these teams aren't strongly associated with any particular place in their respective nations. This isn't like "your local team", even with sports teams that are full of internationals (e.g. Detroit Red Wings are full of Swedes, Manchester United has gamut, etc.). But the fully "floating" nature of the teams and the ease with which players float between them is something new to sports, and is something they need to deal with. Even in DOTA2, it's the exception rather than the rule that certain players are strongly associated with certain teams, and have a brand strongly tied to that team. Navi Dendi, Alliance Loda, EG Fear are some standouts. The creation and dissolution of teams are relatively cheap, unlike other pro sports which have profound physical facilities and enormous associations and legal/corporate entities.

Fighting games should take a look at the individual sports and see what has and has not worked for them. We can see that since the scene is relatively small and sponsorships are monetarily small (relative to real sports), a lot of the sponsors have an element of exclusivity to them. Razer Fuudo, EG Momochi, etc. They want these top players to be strongly associated with their relevant-to-the-nature-of-the-competition brand, like Mercedes-Benz Lewis Hamilton. But really, I think that the players should instead look towards tennis and golf. Roger Federer isn't Nike Roger Federer, even though he wears Nike and Nike is one of his principal sponsors. He isn't Rolex Federer, or Swiss Bank Federer, or Gilette Federer, either. So far, Daigo has done an exceptional job among the many professional players at building his own brand.

A game not being a team game does not exclude the possibility of it being a popular sport worth millions, though it's certainly the case that team games with a team brand bring in a lot more money (see: tennis vs. NFL/Premier League/MLB).

We could probably talk all day about this!





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"Re(2):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Tue 10 Nov 06:06post reply

It also probably doesn't help that until very recently the benchmark for how fighting games should play has been the version that was released to arcades. Talk about obscure, difficult to access technology!





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"Re(1):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Tue 10 Nov 10:09post reply

It doesn't really help that the batch of games considered relevant at any given time changes almost completely in a span of about 5 years, and even within the same series you can see major changes in the game system (to say nothing of which characters are actually available). Not to mention the competition between different series and/or publishers.

Some people manage to transition well enough between different games over the years, but something like the Daigo parry moment isn't likely to happen again on a major stage because despite its qualities, SF3 as a whole by now is a thing of the past (not to mention the scene degenerating into Ken/Yun/Chun-Li).

While fans of a lot of classic individual sports can speculate about how famous athletes from completely different generations would match up against each other had time allowed the opportunity, that sort of thing is really unlikely in fighting games since that kind of time span would involve such a change in the fighting games being played that the skills relevant to one generation might not mean as much compared to those a game from a different generation rewards.

How different was boxing between the day of Jack Dempsey and Mike Tyson - not as much as between each iteration of SF alone, I suspect.





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"Re(2):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Wed 11 Nov 01:06post reply

quote:
Roger Federer isn't Nike Roger Federer, even though he wears Nike and Nike is one of his principal sponsors.


Other than the sheer scale of viewership and money involved, there is another reason that works for Federer in a way that it doesn't work for esport contestants.

When you watch Federer play, you watch Federer. The same goes for other sports. You see the players, because the players themselves are the action. That isn't true for esports. With esports, the action isn't with the player, it is with the videogame screen. If you see the player at all, it is either during the set-up or downtime that you ignore, or in a sidebar feed that you ignore. Otherwise, the player is just a name that might get displayed onscreen or called by announcers.


A separate concern for fighting games as an esport is acceptance among the fighting game community. This brings two issues. First is accepting the rules of the game. Fighting game communities tend to come up with their own rules that don't necessarily mesh with what any external governing body tries to implement. Second is accepting the choices of games themselves. If you look at something like Major League Gaming, you'll note that its fighting game line-up hasn't been particularly comparable to something like Evo. A lot of Smash Bros, some Mortal Kombat and Injustice, and no Capcom at all.





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"Re(3):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Wed 11 Nov 03:59post reply

quote:

When you watch Federer play, you watch Federer. The same goes for other sports. You see the players, because the players themselves are the action. That isn't true for esports. With esports, the action isn't with the player, it is with the videogame screen. If you see the player at all, it is either during the set-up or downtime that you ignore, or in a sidebar feed that you ignore. Otherwise, the player is just a name that might get displayed onscreen or called by announcers.



Warren Spector awhile ago gave a well-meaning article/interview about narrative in games, and about how games offer differing degrees of player expression. He categorized fighting games as "high expression". I'm not sure if they're yet high expression enough, but I hope one day we'll reach a level of game quality where the playstyles for characters among the top players will be so distinctive that that distinctiveness is evident even to a layman of the game.

But you are right, that the principal characters are the ones in the game, not the ones in control, and those in-game characters have such large personas (and often are played by many different players) that it can be hard to highlight the player themselves.

And let's face it, watching people staring intensely at a screen while making motions with their hands is not only not that exciting, it's not UNIQUELY exciting among all the different competitive games. The "booth cameras" for the MOBAs actually give a lot of value in this regard, because you get to see teammates yelling at each other/reacting over the course of the game, as opposed to just post-match reactions like in fighting games.

Maybe a better question is not "can fighting games be as popular and have as much mainstream pull as Sport X" but "can fighting games be as popular and have as much mainstream pull as competitive poker".





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"Re(4):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Wed 11 Nov 06:48:post reply

This ia all very interesting! It has a lot to do with a topic and project I'm working on right now which is "how to get new players interested in fighting games".

Quite frankly though, I think it's hard to get them interested. I know that in case of Japan, a good number of non-players get into watching match videos of famous players just because they've heard of their name on TV or in a magazine (to put it another way, they check Daigo and Tokido and that's pretty much it).

The thing is however, they watch but they don't play. It's sort of like watching boxing on TV-- you enjoy seeing the intense matches where people knock each other out, but you have no interest in actually trying out the sport because you don't want to get hurt, or it's just not something you see as being possible.


So here's a question which I hope someone can answer: I'm assuming that the Moba/RTS game tournaments like LOL have a lot of casual viewership that don't even play the game similarly to the example I've illustrated above. It's hard to imagine such a massive crowd consisting of just playing consumers. Where did these viewers get interested in the game to begin with? Word of mouth on the Internet?





[this message was edited by Professor on Wed 11 Nov 07:13]

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"Re(5):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Wed 11 Nov 07:18post reply

quote:
It's hard to imagine such a massive crowd consisting of just playing consumers.



That's only if you don't know how large the audience for this game is. According to Riot, in 2014:
"67 million playing every month, 27 million playing every day, and over 7.5 million playing at the same time during each day’s peak play time."





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"Re(4):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Wed 11 Nov 07:26post reply

quote:

Maybe a better question is not "can fighting games be as popular and have as much mainstream pull as Sport X" but "can fighting games be as popular and have as much mainstream pull as competitive poker".


I think that is a good comparison. And I think it can happen. Even though this is a niche genre, you can still develop a very loyal and invested audience.

Maybe I'm an outlier but I would watch pre-game and post-game analysis of players performance in tournaments. I cheer for my favorites to succeed in tournaments. I have my preferred commentators. And now I'm starting to become a fan of certain programs that cover the scene.

I think all these things feed and grow off each other. The only problem is that its not all centralized and you have to look for it yourself. Fighting games and esports entertainment are not packaged nicely and maybe that's a step we'll get in the future. I am optimistic we'll get there but right now its a lot of independent work that sometimes gets tied into a news blog like Shoryuken.com

Going back to players-- the next step for me is for the bloggers, commentators and programs that cover the scene is to help develop the identities of all the top players. Who's flashy? Who's risky? Who's methodological and patient? Who's unorthodox? Who plays dirty? This is how you connect player to viewer in this type of environment. Do this and you strengthen the whole system.

I mean, Daigo developed an identity of being methodological, patient and precise.

I want a weekly show that breaks down the players and matchups we're likely to see in the following tournament. Things are shaping up around Capcom Cup. If tournaments were structured on a "season," you can keep track of how your favorites did throughout the season and see how far up the ladder made it before the Cup. You gotta emulate pro sports and give viewers a structure they can follow.





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Professor
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"Re(6):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Wed 11 Nov 07:30:post reply

quote:
27 million playing every day, and over 7.5 million playing at the same time during each day’s peak play time."



27 million active players/day is quite something! Thanks for the info. Is there geographic data showing density of player populations in the world? That should be interesting.



Putting aside population factors for a moment, another issue with fighting games is that viewers may not nessesarily be interested in the players as much as they are in the characters. For many people, it's a characters-based game after all. That's probably another major difference from RTS and FPS e-sports scenes.





[this message was edited by Professor on Wed 11 Nov 07:46]

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"Mahvel and the scene" , posted Wed 11 Nov 07:46:post reply

A propos of what we've been talking about, here's a somewhat interesting chat with the King of Mahvel and the coiner of all the important English phrases! Highlights:

But back in the day, it was mostly holes in the wall, real underground sessions. If you wanted to get good, New York was the Mecca of Marvel 2 – and we still are in terms of Marvel. Players used to come across the state to train with us. And they got better coming to our spot. It was so underground that you wouldn’t know what was going on in the session. So it was a lot of rowdiness. Picture an underground beat boy battle. Picture that and incorporate Marvel. Except for dancing, it’s just showing off all the tricks in Marvel 2. And the difference in that time was you could get that every week, every day. And it was more exclusive.

I’ll give you an example: Season’s Beatings. There was no streaming at the time. For people to experience that energy, they had to see it live. That’s what actually delivered it. People came out from California, Canada, Texas, Detroit, New Jersey; you name it, and they came out to see it. Nowadays, you can catch it at home on stream.

What’s your take on fighting games possibly reaching the level of other competitive games?

MM: It all depends on the presentations and productions, and how you can make the viewers understand what’s going on. Fighting games are more complex for regular gamers. They understand what’s going on in terms of energy bars, but not when it comes to frame data, how the opponents think, and meta. It all depends on how we can explain and showcase it to the public.






人間はいつも私を驚かせてくれる。不思議なものだな、人間という存在は...

[this message was edited by Maou on Wed 11 Nov 07:57]

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"Re(4):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Wed 11 Nov 08:51post reply

quote:
but I hope one day we'll reach a level of game quality where the playstyles for characters among the top players will be so distinctive that that distinctiveness is evident even to a layman of the game.

But you are right, that the principal characters are the ones in the game, not the ones in control, and those in-game characters have such large personas (and often are played by many different players) that it can be hard to highlight the player themselves.


One thought, though it would take serious effort to be done in a functionally effective and acceptable manner, is extensive character customization. If individual players can customize characters to unique appearances, then those appearances can help establish their character's identities as unique from others.

You can see this to a degree with players that associated with specific color palettes. And it stands out in a game like KOFXIII if your opponent has a custom color scheme.

But this would require serious effort on the part of the developers. For the chance to make really unique appearances, you'd need many alternatives for many different outfit and body parts. 10 shirt designs in 10 different colors wouldn't cut it. Filling half the customizations with joke elements wouldn't help much either. For even more work, you might would need to try to carry elements across multiple characters.

It would also take serious coordination with tournament organizers. All that customization is useless if it isn't easy to apply in a tournament setting. Manually running through the character editor before each match is certainly not "easy to apply." I'd say some kind of central server would work, but that might not be feasible with how some tournaments are run. The alternative would be some kind of memory card storage, but that would lead to people complaining about lost items and gives another hardware point of failure for equipment. Funnily enough, something like Amiibo might be a solution... For extra benefit, maybe game developers could save controller configs with the outfit configs.





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"Re(1):Mahvel and the scene" , posted Wed 11 Nov 11:20post reply

Super interesting topic!

To me, it all comes down to this:

quote:
MM: It all depends on the presentations and productions, and how you can make the viewers understand what’s going on. Fighting games are more complex for regular gamers. They understand what’s going on in terms of energy bars, but not when it comes to frame data, how the opponents think, and meta. It all depends on how we can explain and showcase it to the public.


Explanation, narration and presentation are the key. You need people to understand what's happening on a match beyond Generic-Karateka-Guy-A beating Random-Ninja-Girl-B, and you need to do it in a compelling, engaging way.

I for one got hooked into soccer thanks to the energetic narrations of certain commentators on the Spanish radio. But it wasn't only about adrenaline, those commentators gave pretty good insights about the more subtle nuances of the game as well. You actually got to know the nuts and bolts the games (tactics, playing styles, dirty tricks, personalities...) thanks to that. And while soccer is a pretty straightforward, easy to grasp sport, the more you know the more interesting it gets. Same goes for any sport, and that principle applies to videogames as well.

They way I see it, fighting games are not gonna be the soccer or basketball equivalent of eSports anytime soon, but they might very well become something like professional chess. And chess, while not mainstream, has its international tournaments broadcasted worldwide, has been around for a long, long time and has a stable crowd of followers. And it's classy and highbrow as fuck.

tl, dr: SHARPEN YOUR FANGS, THIS IS NOT THE END!





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"Re(2):Mahvel and the scene" , posted Wed 11 Nov 12:15post reply

quote:
Super interesting topic!

To me, it all comes down to this:

MM: It all depends on the presentations and productions, and how you can make the viewers understand what’s going on. Fighting games are more complex for regular gamers. They understand what’s going on in terms of energy bars, but not when it comes to frame data, how the opponents think, and meta. It all depends on how we can explain and showcase it to the public.

Explanation, narration and presentation are the key. You need people to understand what's happening on a match beyond Generic-Karateka-Guy-A beating Random-Ninja-Girl-B, and you need to do it in a compelling, engaging way.

I for one got hooked into soccer thanks to the energetic narrations of certain commentators on the Spanish radio. But it wasn't only about adrenaline, those commentators gave pretty good insights about the more subtle nuances of the game as well. You actually got to know the nuts and bolts the games (tactics, playing styles, dirty tricks, personalities...) thanks to that. And while soccer is a pretty straightforward, easy to grasp sport, the more you know the more interesting it gets. Same goes for any sport, and that principle applies to videogames as well.

They way I see it, fighting games are not gonna be the soccer or basketball equivalent of eSports anytime soon, but they might very well become something like professional chess. And chess, while not mainstream, has its international tournaments broadcasted worl

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


I think Fighting Games CAN be more popular still. The reason I say this is cos wherever I go, I meet people who love Fighting Games, specifically Third Strike. Of course, this is self selection at work. But still, every mobile games conference I go to, every tech conference, every new city I move to, I invariably run into other Third Strike players (who usually aren't even artists, I've met more PMs into it than artists or programmers strangely enough) who love the game to death and bemoan the fact that they no longer have a local network to play it (and forget about playing it online it just doesn't work). I've even met highly ranked FPS pro gamers who say SFIII is their favorite game, it's just that they get paid more to play PC games.

The interest is still very real amongst a broad range of hardcore fans. I think it's actually very possible to get a new generation of fans into them. I've been able to do it on a small local scale, but that's nothing compared to the ease of access of Mobas, RTS and FPS games.

It's just that it's really hard to get new people into it because of all the barriers to entry including

1) They usually aren't free to play (quick aside, it's scary to me how many people expected Overwatch to be F2P even though Blizzard never said anything of the sort and refuse to play it if it's not)
2) They are traditionally played on consoles (or really arcade cabinets!) with specialized controllers that the average person doesn't have access to, especially on a global scale
3) They just don't work that well online

quote:
We've been over this so many times that I wonder if what you really mean is "I don't ACCEPT the appeal of MOBAs", haha



But why MOBAs?






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Loona
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"Re(7):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Wed 11 Nov 19:56post reply

quote:

Putting aside population factors for a moment, another issue with fighting games is that viewers may not nessesarily be interested in the players as much as they are in the characters. For many people, it's a characters-based game after all. That's probably another major difference from RTS and FPS e-sports scenes.



In MOBAs, the amount of characters tends to be bigger than what most people can keep in mind at any given time, let alone properly - but that's a factor that may enhance the players themselves, as invariably some will become known for creating good tutorials or mastering specific characters, or pulling off interesting moves that take advantage of a character's specificities.
The relatively frequent releases of new characters in the genre might help perpectuate this as a cycle too.

In fighting game sites, since new characters or releases aren't that frequent, the news sections are often dominated by tournaments (which may have limited interest to someone too distant to participate, compared to the more viable online factor of other genres), combo videos or explanation of pretty specific features.

The update cycles in MOBAs might help too - "just pick a top tier" is a common FGC saying, but the notion of tier changes more due to unexpected successes from atypical character choices in famous tournaments than changes to the games themselves. That makes it simpler for the game's competitive state to crystalize into something new players may feel is difficult to break successfully into - how to compete with experienced players who are already mastering the most infamously strong characters in the game?
And you tend to always see the same characters doing minute variations on the same things.


If there were a way to streamline the customization process of something like the Mii Fighters in Smash or the movesets in Dissidia, with just enough visual customization, the genre might be on to something, but designing a customizable moveset while retaining reasonable balance is already a major design challenge - and one that would dilute the identity of characters considerably.


This sort of reminds me of something Harada mentioned several months ago, maybe over a year, about a far-fetched dream of putting together a fighting game with characters from as many fighting game franchises as possible.
Many characters in their own franchise's history have changed their moves to some extent (Kyo, Chun-Li, Jin Kazama, etc...), so something based on choosing between their specials like you picked Super Arts in SF3, as well as outfits from their histories, could be a way to go about it - especially if you make the moveset selection invisible to opponents like team order can be in KoF, only the moveset wouldn't be explicit in the GUI, not until the round would start and the character would apply the relevant distinct moves.

Something like Project X Zone exists and succeeded enough to get a sequel, several companies with experience in the genre have created games where they make characters from distinct series and systems work together, so the concept seems a little less impossible than it once was. Also, fans of even unrepresented characters and games could at least root for a favored company's representative.

This in turn bring something else to mind that could help - major fighting game tournaments, for the most part, only help to establish dominating players, characters and countries - and someone not invested in any of the usual suspect winners has little reason to care, outside of the possibility of interesting match moments.
There's a card game, Legend of the Five Rings, that has a lore associated with it represented through its available decks, which represent clans in its story, and the story is not only ongoing, its progress is actually affected by tournament results, so if a player wins a tournament with a specific clan deck, that clan becomes the dominating force in the story (which covers the passage of generations).
So LotFR fans are encouraged to root for their favorite clan, and therefore the players using it, in the process creating content that gives heir favorites more visibility and viable and interesting gameplay strategies.
It's an interesting feature I don't see enough of in video games with a competitive streak (although EVE online has been dabbling with it recently, having killed a famous NPC and getting players to compete to take her place).
IMO a character-centric genre like fighting games could benefit from something like that in some modified form, like letting top 8 wines in tournaments vote for a future DLC character or something like that.





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"Re(8):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Thu 12 Nov 00:04post reply

quote:
The update cycles in MOBAs might help too - "just pick a top tier" is a common FGC saying, but the notion of tier changes more due to unexpected successes from atypical character choices in famous tournaments than changes to the games themselves. That makes it simpler for the game's competitive state to crystalize into something new players may feel is difficult to break successfully into - how to compete with experienced players who are already mastering the most infamously strong characters in the game?
And you tend to always see the same characters doing minute variations on the same things.

But most (?) MOBA have a system in place to limit the frequent overpowered characters they add: bans before the teams pick their characters. With the amount of time necessary to learn a character in Street Fighter, this solution is not really feasible. Though there was a Marvel 3 tournament held under these rules, and it was one of the most entertaining showing of this game.

Another fundamental difference compared to SF is that MOBAs are team games (so even if a dominating character gets added, you can have that character and a counterpick in your team specifically to face the opponent's). That doesn't really work in a 1vs1 game, since even a good counterpick to one top character gets generally wrecked by the lesser top characters. Or you have these scenes in tournament when a player loses a match, counterpicks, wins, the opponent counterpicks, wins, the first guy goes back to his main, win...
Capcom Fighting Jam tried that lame attempt of letting you have two characters and pick the one you want at the last minute, which ultimately devolves the entire strategy to a 50% toss of a coin. KOF was a bit better in that regard, but it was still luck-based, since you needed to succeed in having your counterpick appearing more or less at the same time as the dominant force, not too early or too late.
Mahvel type of games would be the type of fighting games that could try LoL's type of frequent character updates with the least risks, since you can freely alter the composition of your team (and of your opponent's) mid-match. SF, on the other hand, requires any new character to be balance-tested to a much higher standard before release, lest we face the third coming of Yun and the game gets deserted after 2 weeks.


Basically, what I'm saying is: I hope 8ing is working on a fighting game version of PxZ.





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"Re(9):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Thu 12 Nov 01:08post reply

While nobody has quite figured out the magical solution to make fighting games hit the levels of other eSports genres no one has given up on the concept either. For example, Red Bull -of all things- has published long write-ups on tournament results and is producing a multipart video documentary on their sponsored player Snake Eyez. This is all obviously done to promote the battery acid they sell but someone at the company thinks they are getting a good return on the investment of their advertising budget.





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"Re(9):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tournam" , posted Thu 12 Nov 01:39post reply

quote:
The update cycles in MOBAs might help too - "just pick a top tier" is a common FGC saying, but the notion of tier changes more due to unexpected successes from atypical character choices in famous tournaments than changes to the games themselves. That makes it simpler for the game's competitive state to crystalize into something new players may feel is difficult to break successfully into - how to compete with experienced players who are already mastering the most infamously strong characters in the game?
And you tend to always see the same characters doing minute variations on the same things.
But most (?) MOBA have a system in place to limit the frequent overpowered characters they add: bans before the teams pick their characters. With the amount of time necessary to learn a character in Street Fighter, this solution is not really feasible. Though there was a Marvel 3 tournament held under these rules, and it was one of the most entertaining showing of this game.

Another fundamental difference compared to SF is that MOBAs are team games (so even if a dominating character gets added, you can have that character and a counterpick in your team specifically to face the opponent's). That doesn't really work in a 1vs1 game, since even a good counterpick to one top character gets generally wrecked by the lesser top characters. Or you have these scenes in tournament when a player loses a match, counterpicks, wins, the opponent counterpicks, wins, the first guy goes

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


Reading through this makes me wonder if arcade Dissidia will enable players to play cooperatively in that game's teams of 3, because the game sounds like it could reach a nice compromise between traditional fighters and MOBAs that could reach that kind of success:
* more moves than MOBAs, fewer than traditional fighters
* a stated intent to have about 50 characters, and an update plan to support it
* beloved characters from different source games that might get fans of those games rooting for favorites
* very different playstyles and systems based on the differences between the source games themselves and the character classes
* if cooperative team play is an option, smaller teams would make it simpler to focus on individual players, strengthen team spirit, and generate huge drama any time team changes come up

I know there was some competitive play for the PSP Dissidias, despite the hoops one had to jump through for that, so if the system is lenient enough for online to be an option, SE might be on to something - especially considering how their FF MMOs have supported multiple platforms, one of them being the PC.





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"Re(10):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tourna" , posted Thu 12 Nov 06:06post reply

One thing which I don't think anybody has figured out yet is a good way to present the entire action of first-person multiplayer titles to a spectator.

Maps which are full of corridors and rooms that are literally on top of other rooms (you know, like a building) which players will be in and around with highly variable timing is a very difficult thing to present in an intelligible fashion. If you think about games which take place on a surface that has no overhangs, it is much much easier to present what is happening with a single camera view.

Furthermore, in FPS games, each player has a camera view that is entirely unique to them, and what they see and how they see it is crucial to the gameplay. There are sometimes dramatic moments when one player has no visibility to an enemy but a teammate can call the incoming enemy and then once the enemy appears and is picked off you can feel a great sense of coordination. But in general, it is very jarring to jump between different player views, and the speed with which they flick their view around can be nauseating to a spectator.

But maps rich with topology are vital to a good gameplay experience in these games, but they make it difficult to get a good perspective of that doesn't involve just showing player silhouettes through walls. Frankly, a cool way IMO to present these games would be to have a crew of phantom players (invisible to the players actually playing the game and each other) who not only have entirely different camera controls, but different camera physics, and they would run alongside the players. This camera crew would let us see a more third-party view of the action, and having cameras with different/heavier physics would give us something that isn't so twitchy. This kind of camera work would itself require a certain degree of competencies in multiple things: they have to understand how to get around the map smoothly, how to follow and frame the action around them, and knowledge of things that tend to happen in the map/match that will serve as likely focal points. It'd be like being a war reporter!

We'd still need to have some genuine playerviews, because witnessing a player skillfully predict where something will go and executing on that prediction from their limited perspective is an impressive part of the game. But for a larger view of what is happening in space, advancements would be great.





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"Re(2):Re(10):eSports Leagues, Championships," , posted Thu 12 Nov 23:31:post reply

quote:
Frankly, a cool way IMO to present these games would be to have a crew of phantom players (invisible to the players actually playing the game and each other) who not only have entirely different camera controls, but different camera physics, and they would run alongside the players. This camera crew would let us see a more third-party view of the action, and having cameras with different/heavier physics would give us something that isn't so twitchy.


If the games were designed with such multi-camera tournament/show presentation in mind, then you could emulate how it would be handled in real life.

Put fixed cameras to cover key locations (though higher production values would allow even the fixed cameras to track and such), while mobile or chase cams try to cover the rest of the action.

Of course you'd need a trained broadcast crew to handle it, and particularly a skilled director who can call the best switching between the rather large number of cameras (particularly if you keep each player's first person view as a viable feed.)

Thinking about it, I'm not sure tournaments would be willing to pay what such talent was worth.

Mind, a game truly made with such broadcasting in mind could go beyond what reality allows. While you could still have real mobile cameramen, chase cams could be automated to follow players like a loose third person view, possibly with intelligent tracking to try to capture action. You could have automatic cutaway, or translucent display, of walls when you want to show what is on the other side.

EDIT: I don't know that I see this happening, though. First, it would be a lot of work. Second, the game would have to be able to handle a lot of cameras. A lot of cameras, implemented in their simplest form, would kill performance. And fancier forms can have their own issues.

EDIT2: If you could get away with broadcasting on a slight delay, you'd give the director more time to pick the best shots to use.





[this message was edited by Baines on Thu 12 Nov 23:48]

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"Re(10):eSports Leagues, Championships, Tourna" , posted Fri 13 Nov 01:26post reply

Dissidia would indeed be a great idea to emulate de LoL formula: 3 against 3, easily expandable roster...
The last remaining issue would be the presentation. I found Dissidia a very difficult game to understand visually, and even if efforts are made to make it clearer for a viewer, I wonder if having 6 active characters simultaneously to follow would be too much stuff on a screen to read.





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"Re(2):Re(10):eSports Leagues, Championships, " , posted Fri 13 Nov 02:28post reply

Here's a crazy idea for incorporating a team aspect to a traditional 1-on-1 fighter.

In typical Capcom fighters you build meter by attacking, blocking, taking damage, etc. And ever since ST "meter management" has been an important strategic aspect of the game.

When do I use my meter for a super combo? EX versus Super Combo? I should I use it for an Alpha Combo?

And now with SFV you also have the V-meter.

So... what if you built meter in a general pool and its your teammate that decides which bar to replenish. You could decrease the built up stun in your stun meter or maybe replenish a little health. Fill up your EX/Super meter. Fill up your v-trigger. Etc...

You might ask, why hand that very important aspect to someone else that is not the active player? And the answer to that is because your teammate could give you live feedback as the match proceeds and provide you with the necessary tools to overcome your opponent by helping supply the best meters.

For example, your teammate notices that your opponent is very aggressive and has a rush-down play style. They'll fill up your alpha counter meter or decrease your stun meter. If your opponent has a keep-away style, then your teammate will fill up meters that help you be more aggressive or help overcome those tactics.

Communication would be done with headsets. It's sort of like having a live coach feeding you data and strategy while you fight.

Just a crazy thought.





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"Re(3):Re(10):eSports Leagues, Championships," , posted Fri 13 Nov 02:55post reply

quote:
Here's a crazy idea for incorporating a team aspect to a traditional 1-on-1 fighter.

I don't know, having a backseat driver who's playing Cookie Clicker while I'm out there doing the hard work doesn't sound like much fun to me.





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"Re(3):Re(10):eSports Leagues, Championships," , posted Fri 13 Nov 04:29post reply

quote:
Here's a crazy idea for incorporating a team aspect to a traditional 1-on-1 fighter.


What advantage does this actually bring to the formula? Having a separate person manage meter seems all downside, with no upside.

If you want coaching via headset, simply allow that without the meter management ability.

Coaches make sense in team sports because coaches are in control of an entire team of multiple active players, and see the field from a different point of view. Coaches can make sense in individual sports because the coach again has a different view, and also isn't experiencing the physical drain of the match (like being repeatedly punched in the head). None of that is true for a 1-on-1 fighting game. A coach would see the same information as the person playing the game.

Giving the coach control of meter usage is just a bad idea. The coach is in no better position to better use that meter. All it ultimately does is introduce discord and confusion, arguments when the player and coach disagree about usage, and clouds the issue of whether a player won or lost due to their own skill or due to a coach's mismanagement.





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"Re(4):Re(10):eSports Leagues, Championships," , posted Fri 13 Nov 04:41:post reply

quote:
having a backseat driver who's playing Cookie Clicker while I'm out there doing the hard work
quote:
introduce discord and confusion, arguments when the player and coach disagree about usage, and clouds the issue of whether a player won or lost due to their own skill or due to a coach's mismanagement.

Unintentionally, I think you have both made a great case for a situation I would find hysterical to watch! With sports, the only thing more fun than winning is arguing about why the team lost. Fans complaining that "the coach should've allowed use of that super meter in round three" would be as exciting as developing one's own theories about who should have been placed at bat when, or grumbling about how the pitcher should have been substituted sooner.





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[this message was edited by Maou on Fri 13 Nov 04:41]

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"Re(3):Re(10):eSports Leagues, Championships," , posted Fri 13 Nov 22:10post reply

quote:
Here's a crazy idea for incorporating a team aspect to a traditional 1-on-1 fighter.



IMO it'd work better for a coach role in a team-based game, and it could be a player role for whom special camera features could be implemented (and adaptable/reusable by casters) - just make sure there are different resources that have to be (re)distributed to different players at any given time, like a buffer role in a MMO party, only without physical concerns like risking getting damage.





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"Re(4):Re(10):eSports Leagues, Championships," , posted Sat 14 Nov 07:48:post reply

quote:
Here's a crazy idea for incorporating a team aspect to a traditional 1-on-1 fighter.


IMO it'd work better for a coach role in a team-based game, and it could be a player role for whom special camera features could be implemented (and adaptable/reusable by casters) - just make sure there are different resources that have to be (re)distributed to different players at any given time, like a buffer role in a MMO party, only without physical concerns like risking getting damage.



After skimming the last few posts I had to make this


With fighting games, I always considered it going e-sports as something akin to boxing, MMA or prowrestling. Come to think, the scene already has its heels and faces, and they're not even acting.





[this message was edited by Professor on Sat 14 Nov 08:11]

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"Re(5):Re(10):eSports Leagues, Championships," , posted Sat 14 Nov 14:19post reply

quote:
Here's a crazy idea for incorporating a team aspect to a traditional 1-on-1 fighter.


IMO it'd work better for a coach role in a team-based game, and it could be a player role for whom special camera features could be implemented (and adaptable/reusable by casters) - just make sure there are different resources that have to be (re)distributed to different players at any given time, like a buffer role in a MMO party, only without physical concerns like risking getting damage.


After skimming the last few posts I had to make this


With fighting games, I always considered it going e-sports as something akin to boxing, MMA or prowrestling. Come to think, the scene already has its heels and faces, and they're not even acting.


I remember when the Dreamcast port of MvC allowed four players to use each character in Versus mode. You can also use two players for each character in Arcade mode. Do they still have that feature in MvC3? If not, wouldn't that be a good idea to implement in a fighting tournament? It would allow the character(s) who is tagged out, talk strategy on the side with his other partner or coach while the fight is going on. How about for KOF, use three players for each character? Would that be a different type of approach? Or do they do that for KOf tournaments already?





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"Re(6):Re(10):eSports Leagues, Championships," , posted Sat 14 Nov 23:34post reply

quote:
I remember when the Dreamcast port of MvC allowed four players to use each character in Versus mode. You can also use two players for each character in Arcade mode. Do they still have that feature in MvC3? If not, wouldn't that be a good idea to implement in a fighting tournament? It would allow the character(s) who is tagged out, talk strategy on the side with his other partner or coach while the fight is going on. How about for KOF, use three players for each character? Would that be a different type of approach? Or do they do that for KOf tournaments already?


One of the few times I remember this happening was when people were desperately trying to make SFxT happen and several tournaments ran two person teams. The results were just as boring as before but now required twice the manpower. I think it all depends on the game. I don't know if the sometimes frantic character switching in MvC would really work well with multiple players but I have heard that the tag matches in DoA are great fun with two people.